The War of 1914-18 87
These declarations by high officials of the Government brought
new hope to the officers of the colleges. Encouraged by them
President Poteat wrote an article, "College Training in War Time," in
which he included the statements of President Wilson and
Commissioner Claxton, and pointed out that the conscription act did
not extend to ministerial students, students of medicine, and the
average high school graduate. This article was published in the
Bulletin of Wake Forest College for July, 1917, and generally
distributed. It closed with these words
You are below twenty-one years of age, and so not liable to the selective draft,
or, if liable, you are not chosen for immediate service. Well, then, you are free to do
as good, perhaps a better thing-equip yourself for effective service later.
The time of all times is here. No shirk! No slacker! No slouch poking about for
an easy berth! Make the most of yourself for the bereft and needy world. Get ready
for the widest and finest service, civil, military, naval, of the country which is
worthy of your best. To college, young man, young woman! This is your bit.
The session opened on the appointed day, September 4, 1917, and
continued all the year without interruption, and without special event.
The number of students was 361, about 200 fewer than would have
been expected had there been no war. The number of ministerial
students and of students of medicine
expert in the various fields of applied science than ever before. I therefore have no
hesitation in urging colleges and technical schools to endeavor to maintain their
courses as far as possible on the usual basis. There will be many young men from
these institutions who will serve in the armed forces of the country. Those who fall
below the age of selective conscription and who do not enlist may feel that by
pursuing their courses with earnestness and diligence they are also preparing
themselves for valuable service to the Nation. I would particularly urge upon the
young people who are leaving the high schools that as many of them as can do so
avail themselves this year of the opportunity offered by the colleges and technical
schools, to the end that the country may not lack an adequate supply of trained men
and women." P. P. Claxton, Commisioner of Education, who like President Wilson
had been president of an educational institution, made a statement in which he said
that the number of students in colleges, universities, and technical schools should
increase rather than diminish, since the country needed as never before college-
trained men to serve the country in the critical days ahead. He also advised that
every college which possibly could would not allow its students and faculty to be
scattered or its energies to be dissipated.
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